The quality of your capital campaign communications efforts can make or break your capital campaign.
What do we mean by “communications” in the context of a capital campaign? We’re talking about everything from how you talk about what’s going on (your campaign’s theme, the gifts you receive, etc.) to the media you use to get your message across.
All this conversation and news comes together to create momentum, broader press coverage, community buzz, excitement, enthusiasm, and even more gifts.
All else being equal, the way your nonprofit handles communications can be a huge asset — or a huge hindrance — to the success of your capital campaign.
The Piecemeal Approach to Communications Doesn’t Work
But unfortunately, many times we see capital campaign communications handled very poorly. Why does this happen?
In larger nonprofits, the communications/marketing team might be working separately from the development team.
In smaller organizations, fundraising and communications/marketing may be the responsibility of the same overwhelmed person.
In both cases (and this can happen in medium-sized nonprofits as well), the result tends to be a piecemeal approach to campaign communications.
You Can’t Afford a Piecemeal Communications Plan
The piecemeal approach to capital campaign communications will undermine your organization’s credibility. If your messages are inconsistent and the materials don’t work together, your donors will wonder if you know what you’re doing.
Not only that, but without a coordinated plan, you’ll find yourself frustrated throughout the campaign when you have no plan to rely on. You’ll spend more time, energy and money on communications without a clear sense that it all works together to create a sense of momentum and excitement.
I know, it sounds daunting. But in reality, if you take the time early in your campaign to develop a comprehensive communications plan, you’ll save yourself lots of headaches.
Benefits of a Smart Communications Plan
There are many benefits of taking your time to think through what you need, plan a smart timeline, create attractive branding, and tailor your communications for specific audiences.
You can create:
- Materials that capture the unique spirit of your organization and this specific campaign.
- Written communications that restate the power of your case for support, and images that reinforce the unity and purpose of your campaign.
- Messaging that works for the different audiences you plan to reach out to and that will support your in-person fundraising efforts.
- Communications that are specific to phases of your campaign so they build energy and enthusiasm as your campaign progresses.
Coordinate Your Communications Efforts for Campaign Success
If yours is a smaller nonprofit and the bulk of the campaign work falls on your shoulders, believe me you’ve got to have a plan that lays out what communications you need when. Your communications doesn’t have to be super complicated and sophisticated. But they’ve got to be well-organized so they build your campaign momentum.
On the other hand, if you work for a medium-sized or large organization that will require a more complex set of communications, you may well want to designate someone to act as your “Communications Tsar” to make sure that every aspect of your communications reinforces and supports the campaign.
A Series on Capital Campaign Communications to Help You
Because campaign communications are such an important aspect of campaign communications, we’re writing a series of posts that’ll serve as a guide for you. Here are a few of the pieces we’ve got planned.
- The Bones: An Outline of Your Capital Campaign Communications
- Identifying Your Capital Campaign Audiences and the Messages that Will Speak to Them
- Getting Your Message Out: Assessing Capital Campaign Communications Media
- Communications During the Quiet Phase of Your Capital Campaign
- Communications Materials for the Public Phase of Your Capital Campaign
- Media Meets Message: Marry On- and Offline Communications for Greater Capital Campaign Success
- Your Campaign Brochure: What Do You Need and When Do You Need It?
Make sure that your campaign is a huge success — check out the next post in our ongoing series on capital campaign communications.